Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Avoidance, Aspies, and Aaauuuggghhh!!!

Lately, what we're dealing with is avoidance.  Avoiding chores, avoiding work, getting frustrated when the work of a week has to be done in a day... in short, teenagerhood.  But teenagerhood on top of Asperger's can be a real pain in the ass neck...moving gradually lower.

The one, singular, salient reinforcer I have for son 2 is his PS3.   Unfortunately, one reinforcer should usually only be tied to one behavior you're trying to elicit.  And he has a lot of behavior that needs curbing about now. 

While he's enjoying the paychecks that come from his work as son 3's PCA, he avoids the paperwork that makes them come here.  He has already experienced that sending in the paperwork late means no check that week, but is tending now to kind of use it as a bank account - waiting it for it to build really high and then send it in.  He's not allowed to do this, the payroll lady has informed him, and so he is trying desperately hard to get his timecards in on time.  The problem now with the timecards is that he tends to want to fill them out during his established work hours, which creates the problem for us of having son 3 unattended. 

Aside from that, he needs to learn how to speak respectfully to employers and to his client.  If son 3 is having a meltdown, telling him to "shut up" is not the best idea, as it's hardly calming.  But, being an aspie, he fails to be able to apply the reasoning that he wouldn't like it, if it were his meltdown.  Yes, brothers do, occasionally say things like that to each other, but he's on the clock and he's supposed to be learning professional behavior.  He often reacts and interrupts my interactions with son 3, providing me a translation (inaccurate) of what son 3 is trying to say.  Now, I appreciate that he's trying to listen, but he's better off using the Dynavox or trusting what I hear, since I've been listening longer.  Imitation is also not a particularly strong suit, at least not when it comes to social interactions.  He doesn't quite "get it", and watching those who do is helpful in a minimalist sort of way. 

If I am telling him a job that needs doing for son 3, and he says, "It's not time for that yet, I have an alarm set in my phone."...that may be true, and it may be 5 or even 10 minutes early, but that is not an appropriate way to say that.  Quite matter-of-fact in typical Aspie form, but still mildly disrespectful, and any other employer or client would think he was batshit crazy a snotty little brat.  More appropriate would be, "I thought that was in ten minutes?"  But, no. 

Soooo...the thing is...which do I tie the reinforcer to first?  The paperwork, because that will affect his ability to keep the job in the long run - as it is the only area of his job that currently deals with people who are not related to him and therefore more tolerant of batshit craziness.   Yes, I realize that the respectful speech has to come too.  But first, he needs to keep it right with the outside world.  If he doesn't have this job, he likely won't get any job, because his other issues will get him fired before the first pay period ends.  I need him to have a job, because this is a training ground.  Now, I can require that he re-do things till they're right, and that's not a problem. He isn't getting off scott-free on the other issues.  I don't allow him to record any time spent arguing with me or the client on his timecard, because that's not what they're paying him for.  Time spent re-doing jobs isn't recorded either.  Not on the timecard.  I do require that he keep a running record of time he's lost, and then at the end of the week we add it up and figure out how much money he lost out on because of laziness and arguing.  It's not as salient as the PS3, but it does seem to be having some sort of effect. (Besides having him notice that "mom is mean.")

Anybody else have ideas for reinforcers or solutions to my dilemma?  We'll be going with this plan for this week and I'll keep you posted.

We're all in this together,


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

@sshats, Douchebaggery, and Bullying

I have a lot of kids.  Seven is a lot these days.  All kids go through tough times in the society known as school, and growing up., I'm writing about bullies.  I've been reading an article about a girl who posted nasty things on her YouTube account about another girl in her grade, and the father not only fought her suspension from school in court, but he insisted that his daughter leave the video in question on YouTube.  To most of us, this is sublimely ridiculous.  His argument is "free speech" - my argument is "hostile environment".  Certainly, the girl is entitled to free speech.  But is she entitled to go ahead and make vicious statements about a classmate? 

I know a couple of my kids have truly hated school and dreaded going following a snide or thoughtless comment.  I can't imagine it was any easier for the girl maligned on YouTube. 

The father "would not allow" his daughter to take the video off YouTube, though the daughter offered to.  His argument is that the school was wrong in suspending his daughter for off-campus behavior.  While this may be true, there is something that the school can and should do.  Get policies in place.  If there is an instance of cyberbullying that comes to their attention, the parents (of both bullied and bully) should get (at a minimum) a phone call, as that will make it easier for parents to exert their influence on the bully, and for the parents of the bullied to affect a treatment plan for anxieties caused by said bullying. 

I am all in favor of the schools not meddling in our private lives.  That being said, the private life affects the educational life, as we all know.  Trauma in one area of life often affects another.  And being bullied is traumatic, particularly to peer-dependent, socially anxious teenagers, whether they be neurotypical or disabled in one area or another. 

However, the Minnesota State High School League provides a bit of recourse, at least against bullies involved in extra-curriculars.  The students who participate in MSHSL activities must, each year sign a statement of behavior that is not allowed, including drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and the like.  ALSO...they are suspended from said extra-curriculars for behaviors such as harassment, poor sportsmanship, etc.  I think the YouTube video would qualify as harassment, at the very least.   While the school itself does not suspend said students, the High School League prohibits their practice and playing in games of the extra-curriculars such as sports, Speech, Choir (though choir gets weird since it's co-curricular - only prohibited from public performances), Drama, etc.  Since the contract is signed by both parent and student, it does, indeed cover off-campus behavior as well as on-campus, including the students' freetime.

Although the father won the case, and perhaps he should have, regarding the school suspension, it is his failure to address whether his daughter's actions were ethical, moral, or just that frankly bothers me.  They weren't.

We're all in this together,


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Because We Can.....Why Help Someone Else When So Much Is On Our Own Plate?

By way of introduction, I received this letter from the mother of Ashley Hyde.  He has neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that the UK has no protocol for treating in childrenThe Ashley Hyde Appeal on Facebook.  The US does, but he can't get here because of financial issues.  They're trying a new type of treatment in Germany, but don't have enough money to complete the recommended treatment cycles, etcetera.  Ashley needs help, and as much as I would hope someone would help my kids if they needed it, I would like to help Ashley. 

Maybe a "Pennies For Ashley" campaign in your workplace, or  2 dollar casual Friday campaign, any contributions are welcome.  And if you know any organizations that would be able to help Ashley, please submit their names to me, and I will get them to Claire, Ashley's mum.

The Ashley Hyde Appeal on Facebook

Dear friend,

Please take the time to read this and pass on:

Ashley was diagnosed in June 2008 and since then he has undergone surgery to remove a tumour, 13 rounds of chemotherapy, High dose chemotherapy, stem cell therapy and radiation, Ashley reached remission in May 09, this was the most amazing news he had won the fight.

Devastatingly just after 6 month of being clear of cancer on the 22nd december just before christmas and Ashley 7th birthday a routine scan showed the monster has come back and Ashley started the fight again.

At present in the uk there sadly is NO protical for a neuroblastoma relapse, so there is no guidance for doctors to what treatment is best to be given to try and fight this monster again.

Ashley started treatment staright away in the form of a trial chemotherapy on 27th december 09 of a mix that he has not had before in the HOPE this will have a desired effect BUT sadly it hasnt, Ashley diease has continued to spread dispite many rounds of various chemotherapy and radiotherapy, some how though Ashley has managed to bouce back after each round and each infection he has got inbetween treatment.

We had been told there were no more treatment options in the uk, both trials Ashley had been put forward to he didnt meet the strick criteria so could not have the possible life saving treatments. for the past few month Ashley has been on a treatment that was holding the disease but we know this will not last forever.


BUT wether it be by co-incedence or pure fate, By contact with a families whose child is recieveing treatment in Germany at present, very kindly mentioned Ashley and some how within Days of corosponding with the proffesor there and the hospital, Ashley has been accepted onto a trial treatment.

This has given us so much hope and it is the break through we have so been hoping for, it is no miracle cure and is still in the very early stages of trials, but IT is having promising results so we HAVE to go and HAVE to try, we just can not accept there are no option and to go home and "have time", Ashley is still fighting so we will continue to fight with him.

This treatment however is private and very costly at the sum of 21,000 per round, plus the cost of travel and the family living in another country for what could be months at a time.

At present we only have enougth money raised to fund 2 rounds out of the proposed 4, then if this is sucseful in clearing enough disease Ashley can go onto have immunotherapy - antibodies but agin we will have to fund this ourself.


all you need to do is follow these 3 easy steps

1. visit or

2. Donate just £2.00 to Ashleys appeal with either a credit card or PayPal account.

3. Forward this message to as many of your most trusted and generous friends, who you know will help Ashley with a £2.00 donation.

Remember by giving up the price of one cup of coffee or a cake, you could help Ashley to live a long and enjoyable life, where he would be able to see his little sister Amber grow up and enjoy the things with her, that we all take for granted!

Please help the force be strong in Ashley xxx

Ashley is now being supported by families against neuroblastoma and 2simple trust.

if you can not make a donation maybe you can show your support in another way, inviting other to join Ashleys group or holding your own fundrasing event for Ashley.